The military academy held ceremonies for two same-sex couples within weeks of each other

By Julia Haskins
December 03, 2012 12:35 PM
Jeff Sheng/Outserve-SLDN/AP

West Point Military Academy has made history by hosting the institution’s first same-sex marriages.

The 210-year-old Academy hosted the nuptials of Brenda “Sue” Fulton, a 53-year-old West Point graduate, and Penelope Gnesin, 52, at the Academy’s Cadet Chapel on Dec. 1. “It was such a sacred, joyous day,” Fulton told CNN.

The chapel was the first place Fulton heard the Cadet Prayer – which includes the line, “make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong” – and it resonated with her.

“As both Penny and I worked to support LGBT military people, those principles were always in front of us,” Fulton said. “To be able to celebrate this with so many of our straight and gay military folks, bi and trans, was really overwhelming.”

Prior to Fulton and Gnesin’s ceremony, Army 1st Lt Ellen Schick and Shannon Simpson wed in West Point’s original Old Cadet Chapel on Nov. 24.

“Ellen is very proud to serve her country and wanted a military wedding,” Simpson told OutServe Magazine. “We felt that we should be allowed the same opportunity to marry on a military post as any heterosexual military couple.”

The marriages come after two major victories for the LGBT community. In 2011, New York legalized same-sex marriage and the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was repealed.